Thursday, February 5, 2009
Two Killed in DWI Hit and Run
Cops: Suspect Stole Car Before MV Wreck
By Conor Greene
A 16-year-old Middle Village boy was laid to rest today in St. John’s Cemetery after he and a friend were run down by a man who cops say sped down 80th Street in a stolen car while drunk and high on pills.
Robert Ogle, 16, of 62nd Avenue and Alex Paul, 20, of Cypress Hills, died after being hit early Sunday morning by a 2001 Kia Spectrum driven by 27-year-old Kenneth Guyear of Middle Village, according to police. Guyear had stolen the vehicle just minutes before the accident after its owner left it idling outside a deli on Woodhaven Boulevard.
Ogle, a student at Brooklyn Technical High School who aspired to become a journalist, died at the scene of the crime on 80th Street near 62nd Avenue – just blocks from his home, where the pair was headed after attending a nearby house party. Paul, described as an acquaintance of Ogle, was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he later died.
Guyear, who police say admitted to drinking “five or six vodka drinks” and taking two Xanax pills earlier that evening, was charged with firstdegree vehicular manslaughter, first-degree assault, third-degree grand larceny and other charges. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Ogle’s parents, Brendan and Mei, had become concerned when their son hadn’t returned from attending a house party on 80th Street and called police at about 12:30 a.m. At about 6 a.m., three detectives from the 104th Precinct showed up on their front door step with Robert’s school identification card to deliver the tragic news.
“You can’t even imagine this,” a distraught Brendan Ogle told reporters. “This is the worst thing we have ever dealt with.”
According to prosecutors, the events began at about 1:30 a.m., when three men left the Kia running outside a deli at Woodhaven Boulevard and Alderton Street. Guyear, who told police he is homeless, allegedly jumped into the vehicle and sped through the quiet residential streets of Middle Village towards 80th Street and 62nd Avenue where Ogle and Paul were walking.
Police say the victims likely didn’t see the vehicle before it struck them. After apparently trying to dislodge one of the bodies from the car, Guyear sped from the scene. Officers responding to the report of a stolen car stopped him near Dry Harbor Road and Woodhaven Boulevard, just blocks from where he stole the Kia. He was taken to the 112th Precinct stationhouse, where police say he later admitted to running the men down.
“I came from a party. I was drinking and got into a fight with my father and I stole the car,” said Guyear, according to statements released by the District Attorney’s office. “I drove and saw people. I slowed down and didn’t see them again… I have a drinking problem and a pill problem… I do three bags of cocaine per day and I smoke pot.”
Later in the interview, Guyear admitted to drinking “five or six vodka drinks” and taking two Xanax pills while at a party earlier that evening. “I stole the car that was parked on the street. I drove the car and saw the pedestrians but I didn’t think I hit anybody. I kept driving and then stopped the car and looked for blood on the car. I kept driving and the police stopped me.”
However, witnesses told the Daily News that Guyear put the car into reverse and drove forward several times in an apparent effort to dislodge one of the bodies. “Oh my God, there’s a body under the car,” the witness told the paper she recalled thinking. Witnesses also said that Guyear was laughing when cops arrested him about one block from the deli.
During his arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on Monday night, Guyear was ordered held without bail until his next court hearing on February 17. In addition, bail was set at $15,000 for an outstanding Brooklyn DWI felony case in which a warrant had been issued for his arrest.
According to police sources, Guyear has a long history of arrests and has been sent to Rikers Island eight times. He was arrested in October for stealing a motorcycle while drunk on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, and was also arrested in 2006 for grand larceny auto, for which he served four months in Rikers Island. That year he was also charged with robbery and assault after participating in a robbery during which the victim’s ribs were broken.
“He shouldn’t have been out. It’s a shame,” lamented one police source. “Hopefully he will do a long time.” Those sentiments were echoed by Brendan Ogle. “Someone like that should be behind bars,” Ogle told the Daily News. “I hope there’s enough public outcry to put this guy and guys like him behind bars.”
During interviews with detectives, Guyear appeared defiant and without remorse. “I’ve been to Rikers a thousand times. I’m homeless. I live on the street,” he said, before telling one of the officers, “My attorney is going to have your job… You guys don’t know what you’re doing. You have nothing on me. You’re just locking me up for DWI? I’m gonna have your job. For a black cop you just follow what the white guy tells you.”
His myspace.com page contains repeated references to drugs and violence and contains images of Muppets holding guns. By Wednesday morning, that page’s privacy setting had been changed to restrict public access to it.
The Ogle family is well known in the neighborhood, and Robert was a top student at Brooklyn Tech, where his mother teaches foreign languages. He played football there until breaking his leg during his freshman year, and previously played with the Pop Warner Queens Falcons team. He had a part-time job at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
The family is a long-time member of the Juniper Park Civic Association, and Brendan Ogle, who works for the city’s Department of Information Technology, is an auxiliary police officer with the 104th Precinct. He has volunteered his services as an embroiderer to the civic association and with the Juniper Juniors group.
“This devastating case of two innocent young men being struck down by an allegedly drunken driver once again underscores the impact of a person’s decision to get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of alcohol,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “Two families are now heartbroken.”